Contractor to pay for bridge party
MIDDLEBURY — The primary builder of the Cross Street Bridge in downtown Middlebury has agreed to absorb the costs of an Oct. 30 celebration at which the new span will be formally unveiled.Project Manager John Walsh of Kubricky Construction confirmed the company’s offer to foot the estimated $12,000 bill for the daylong shin-dig, which is to feature fireworks, a ceremonial first ride across the bridge and an entertainment tent, among other attractions. A full agenda for the celebration is being devised by Town Hall Theater Executive Director Douglas Anderson and will be published in a future issue of the Addison Independent.Initial plans called for the town of Middlebury to underwrite the costs of the celebration to mark the opening of a $16 million project that has been decades in the making. Middlebury College is contributing $9 million toward the project costs, with the remaining $7 million to be defrayed through local option taxes.But the notion of the town paying $12,000 for a bridge celebration did not sit well with some local residents who believed such an expenditure would send a bad message in context of the poor economy and barren county food shelves. Some of those residents voiced their concerns at recent selectboard meetings and through letters to the editor in the Independent. Resident Ben Burd suggested that at the very least, a food drive should be incorporated into the celebration.Selectboard Chairman John Tenny and his colleagues were receptive to such an idea, and took an additional step.“I thought the best course would be to reach out to the bridge building team to support this (celebration) by underwriting it,” Tenny said. He asked Kubricky officials if the company would be willing to bankroll one-fourth of the celebration expense. The company instead offered to cover the whole thing.“The design-build team, Kubricky Construction Corp./VHB, would like to thank the town for the opportunity to do the work and to be part of a unique method for municipalities to get projects done on their terms without reliance on higher government authorities limiting the town’s ability to enhance the needs of the their locale,” Walsh said in a written statement about the contribution. “The design-build team looks forward to this method being taken up by other communities where we can work with to get them ‘what they want, when they want it’ and within the budgets that they have allotted.”John Flowers is at [email protected].